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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – May 15

Just For Today
May 15
Fear Of the Fourth Step

“As we approach this step, most of us are afraid that there is a monster inside of us that, if released, will destroy us.”
Basic Text, p. 27

Most of us are terrified to look at ourselves, to probe our insides. We’re afraid that if we examine our actions and motives, we’ll find a bottomless black pit of selfishness and hatred. But as we take the Fourth Step, we’ll find that those fears were unwarranted. We’re human, just like everyone else—no more, no less.

We all have personality traits that we’re not especially proud of. On a bad day, we may think that our faults are worse than anyone else’s. We’ll have moments of self-doubt. We’ll question our motives. We may even question our very existence. But if we could read the minds of our fellow members, we’d find the same struggles. We’re no better or worse than anyone else.

We can only change what we acknowledge and understand. Rather than continuing to fear what’s buried inside us, we can bring it out into the open. We’ll no longer be frightened, and our recovery will flourish in the full light of self-awareness.

Just for today: I fear what I don’t know. I will expose my fears and allow them to vanish.

Daily Reflections
May 15
KNOW GOD; KNOW PEACE

It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. . . . But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p 66

Know God;
Know peace.

No God;
No peace.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day
May 15
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we find a new strength and peace from the realization that there must be a Power greater than ourselves that is running the universe and that is on our side when we live a good life. So the A.A. program really never ends. You begin by overcoming drink and you go on from there to many new opportunities for happiness and usefulness. Am I really enjoying the full benefits of A.A.?

Meditation For The Day

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” We should not seek material things first, but seek spiritual things first and material things will come to us, as we honestly work for them.  Many people seek material things first and think they can then grow into knowledge of spiritual things. You cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time. The first requisites of an abundant life are the spiritual things: honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. Until you have these qualities, quantities of material things are of little real use to you.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may put much effort into acquiring spiritual things.  I pray that I may not expect good things until I am right spiritually.

As Bill Sees It
May 15,  2014
Down To Earth, p. 178

Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives.

We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our work must be done.  These are the realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 130

Keep It Simple
May 15,  2014

That day is lost on which one has not laughed.
—French proverb

For a long time, we didn’t really laugh. It’s surprising when we think about it: we hadn’t really laughed for so long. . .we almost forgot how good we could feel. It feels so good to laugh again!

Now, our spirits come more alive each day. Now, we feel what alcohol and other drugs stuffed deep inside us. Pain, fear, and anger come up. But so do happiness and joy, thankfulness and a sense of humor. In early recovery, we work through the hard feelings. As we grow in the program, we have more and more room for happiness.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, wake me up to the joy and laughter that today hold for me. Don’t let me miss it!

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll spread some laughter. I will learn a joke and tell it to three people.

Each Day a New Beginning
May 15

Difficulties, opposition, criticism – these things are meant to be overcome, and there is a special joy in facing them and in coming out on top. It is only when there is nothing but praise that life loses its charm, and I begin to wonder what I should do about it.
—Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

To be alive means to experience difficulties, conflicts, challenges from many directions. What we do with adverse conditions both determines and is determined by who we are. Resistance, most of us have learned, heightens the adversity. Acceptance of the condition, trusting all the while the lesson it offers us is for our benefit, ensures that we’ll “come out on top.”

Difficulties are opportunities for advancement, for increased self-awareness, for self-fulfillment. So often we hear and remind one another, that we grow through pain. We can face any situation knowing we have the strength of the program to shore us up. Strangely, we need challenges in order to grow; without growth we wither. Happiness is the bounty for facing the momentarily unhappy conditions.

Any difficulty I meet today offers me a chance for even greater happiness; it guarantees my growth.

Walk in Dry Places
May 15,  2014
Trusting others
Personal Relationships

Some people trust others too much, while a few seem to have no trust at all. Either stance is wrong and leads to some kind of trouble.

As we grow in our Twelve Step program, we learn the truth about trust. We can trust others if our expectations aren’t too high. We have to remember, however, that as human beings they can fail us. However, it’s also unrealistic to be suspicious of everyone. The truth is that most people aren’t out to get us or to hurt us. They are pursuing their own interests, just as we must do.

As we grow emotionally, we come to see that we have less difficulty trusting others. We no longer make outrageous demands on them or stretch their patience to the limits. We also realize that there are many times when we can work co-operatively with everybody’s interest in mind.

I’ll think realistically about others today, being careful not to expect either too much or too little from the. I’ll certainly not expect more from them than I could reasonably expect from myself.

Alcoholics Anonymous – Fourth Edition
May 15,  2014

A DRUNK, LIKE YOU

– The more he listened at meetings, the more he came to know about his own drinking history.

Everything has turned around. I found a new job, which I then decided to leave. I opened my own business. I was able to put my two sons through college at large universities. My oldest son’s great passion was to go on road trips to get away from home when it was time to come home on school breaks; now he comes home regularly and brings friends. The younger son comes home often and calls regularly.
My marriage is no longer on the brink and is better than ever. And the best is yet to come. All this and more I owe to the Fellowship in the rooms and the program in the book.

p. 406

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
May 15,  2014

Step Eleven – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Of course, it is reasonable and understandable that the question is often asked: “Why can’t we take a specific and troubling dilemma straight to God, and in prayer secure from Him sure and definite answers to our requests?”
This can be done, but it has hazards. We have seen A.A.’s ask with much earnestness and faith for God’s explicit guidance on matters ranging all the way from a shattering domestic or financial crisis to correcting a minor personal fault, like tardiness. Quite often, however, the thoughts that seem to come from God are not answers at all. They prove to be well-intentioned unconscious rationalizations. The A.A., or indeed any man, who tries to run his life rigidly by this kind of prayer, by this self-serving demand of God for replies, is a particularly disconcerting individual. To any questioning or criticism of his actions he instantly proffers his reliance upon prayer for guidance in all matters great or small. He may have forgotten the possibility that his own wishful thinking and the human tendency to rationalize have distorted his so-called guidance. With the best of intentions, he tends to force his own will into all sorts of situations and problems with the comfortable assurance that he is acting under God’s specific direction. Under such an illusion, he can of course create great havoc without in the least intending it.

pp. 103-104

Xtra Thoughts
May 15,  2014

Look past the body, past the personality, past the behavior, into the window of one another’s souls. There we make a connection. The God in me recognizes and honors the God in you.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that I don’t always have to be right.”
–Jeffrey B. Swartz

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”
–Dale Carnegie

“The future is always beginning now.”
–Mark Strand

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.”
–Abraham Lincoln

Enjoy God’s handiwork all around you.
–Susan D. Petropulos

Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
May 15,  2014
TEACHING

“To teach is to learn.”
–Japanese Proverb

The more I learn the more I know that I do not understand. Life is full of new and wonderful information; paradoxes and confusion abound; every new idea leads to a further truth – and the journey seems endless.

In a sense we are all disciples; we are all learning from each other and the role of teacher and student is forever being exchanged. In my sobriety I am able to see how many wonderful “things” exist in the world – so many fascinating and interesting places to visit, so many loving and insightful people. God has given me so much, I am so grateful to be able to learn in His garden.

Teacher, may I never stop learning and being a student in Your world.

Bible Scriptures
May 15,  2014

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the Comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
II Corinthians 1:3-4

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”
Psalm 34:17

Daily Inspiration
May 15,  2014

If you are waiting to be happy, you never will be. Lord, the only moment that I can count on and be in charge of is right now. Help me choose to be happy.

One of God’s greatest gifts to us is eternal life. Lord, may I daily care for the needs of my soul, grow strong in my love for You, and be an extension of You during my time on earth.

A Day At A Time
May 15,  2014

Reflection For The Day

Looking back at those last desperate days before I cam to The Program, I remember more than anything the feelings of loneliness an isolation.  Even when I was surrounded by people, including my own family, the sense of “aloneness” was overwhelming.  Even when I tried to act sociable and wore the mask of cheerfulness, I usually felt a terrible anger of not belonging.  Will I ever forget the mystery of “being alone in a crowd?”

Today I Pray

I thank God for the greatest single joy that has come to me outside of my sobriety — the feeling that I am no longer alone.  May I not assume that loneliness will vanish overnight.  May I know that there will be a lonely time during recovery, especially since I must pull away from my former junkie friends or drinking buddies.  I pray that I may find new friends who are recovering.  I thank God for the fellowship of The Program.

Today I Will Remember

I am not alone.

One More Day
May 15

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and specially on their children, than the unloved lives of the parents.
— Carl Jung

Sometimes chronic illness emphasizes flaws in our relationships. For whatever reason — greater honesty, less tolerance, or an increased need for openness — we struggle more often with conflicting feelings toward our loved ones, especially our parents.

It can be healing for us to review our childhood years without blaming or embellishment. We can look back and realize that our parents, too, were influenced by their childhood years. Did they receive the nurturing they needed? The love they deserved? Thinking about our parents in this way reminds us to live with forgiveness for ourselves and for everyone whose lives we touch.

I will allow myself to look back on my parents which forgiveness.

One Day At A Time
May 15
KIND WORDS

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
–Mother Teresa

How many times are we gifted with newcomers to our meetings? They are so easy to see as they huddle in the back of the room — usually as close to the exit as possible. Their oversized coat is a good giveaway, especially in July. Their eyes show the fear and anxiety that we all felt. Sure, we made it, and so can they.

I remember the elder who first said those magical words to me — those two simple words — “Welcome Home.” The warmth and safety those words held were immense. I felt that my body was huge, and I was embarrassed in a room full of people who looked very similar to me…but my eyes could not see that. They were filled with tears because of those two words. Welcome home. Whoever that person was, I have two words for you, “Thank you.”

What can you do to make a newcomer feel welcome to your meeting? Let us not forget that all-important first hug. I remember mine; do you remember yours? It felt good, I’ll bet. So welcome the newcomer and let them know they are home.

One day at a time…
I will do my part to welcome the newcomer into our fellowship.

~ Danny

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 15

“We must have respect and understanding for women and all female life on this Earth which bears the sacred gift of life.”
–Traditional Circle of Elders. ONONDAGA

At a gathering of Native Elders we were told that many men of today had lost their ability to look at the Woman in a sacred way. They said we were only looking at Her in a physical sense and had lost the ability to look at Her sacredness. They said the Woman has a powerful position in the Unseen World. She has the special ability to bring forth life. They told us to start showing Her respect and to look upon her in a sacred manner. We must start this today.

Grandfather, show me how to see in a sacred way.

Journey to the Heart
May 15
Lighten Up

The time for heaviness is past– heaviness of body, mind, spirit, and heart. That heaviness many of us felt was part of a time now gone. It’s time to lighten up.

“He was a different person,” she said. “Cheerful. Happy. Fun to be around. Things that used to bother him no longer did.” The woman was talking about her husband of only three years. She had dated him for a long time. Then after nearly dying of a heart attack, he was changed, transformed. They married and had the best three years of their lives before he died.

Those years were possible because he had learned to enjoy life, learned the value of love.

We don’t have to wait to open our hearts and enjoy life. We don’t have to wait to lighten up. We can do that now. We know that we can trust, that we can journey through each stage of our lives with open hearts, loving and living freely.

Let go of heaviness. Seek that which is light. Gravitate toward joy. Your soul and body will lead you, if only you will listen. Walk lightly. Speak and laugh lightly, as much as possible. Go lightly along your way.

Today’s Gift
May 15

What is moral is what you feel good after.
—Ernest Hemingway

Each of us has a little voice inside us that tells us what is good and what is bad. For instance, if our friends are making fun of someone who is different than we are, how do we feel if we join in the laughter? Do we feel more comfortable if we refuse to join in, or if we tell them their jokes are not funny?

As we grow, we learn more and more to trust the inner voice. Sometimes, in times of dark confusion, we have to listen very hard, but it is there to guide us. It is a beacon showing us the way out of the darkness of uncertainty. It is our guide to goodness.

Will I have the courage to listen to my inner voice today?

The Language of Letting Go
May 15
Taking Risks

Take a risk. Take a chance.

We do not have to indulge in obviously foolhardy or self-defeating risks, but we can allow ourselves to take positive risks in recovery. We cannot afford to keep ourselves paralyzed.

We do not have to keep ourselves stymied and trapped out of fear of making a mistake or failing. Naturally, we will make mistakes and fail from time to time. That’s part of being fully alive. There are no guarantees. If we are waiting for guaranteed courses of action, we may spend much of our life waiting.

We do not have to shame ourselves or accept shame from anyone else, even those in recovery, for making mistakes. The goal of recovery is not to live life perfectly. The goal of recovery is to live, learn our lessons, and make overall progress.

Take a risk. Do not always wait for a guarantee. We don’t have to listen to “I told you so.” Dust yourself off after a mistake, and then move on to the success.

God, help me begin to take healthy risks. Help me let go of my fear of failure, and help me let go of my fear of success. Help me let go of my fear of fully living my life, and help me start experiencing all parts of this journey.

More language of letting go
May 15
Say when it’s time for plan B

I exited the plane, enjoyed my free fall, then checked my altimeter.

Pull time.

I deployed my parachute, waiting for that sweet whooshing sound, the one that meant I had a working canopy open. I didn’t hear the sound. I was leaning backwards and turning, instead of floating softly toward the ground. I didn’t have to do my eight-point canopy check. I knew immediately that something was wrong.

Ever since I had begun skydiving, I had been aware that although things mostly go well, sometimes they don’t. For a while, I dreaded the possibility that something wouldn’t be right with my canopy on opening, that I might have to cut it away. To deal with the fear and dread, I planned on having to use plan B– cutting away my main and pulling my reserve– each time I jumped out of the plane.

It was time to execute plan B.

Whoosh. What a sweet sound that was, as the reserve canopy opened over my head.

Most of us have plans and ideas about how we think an activity, or a relationship, or a job,will go. We marry, and we expect the relationship to flourish. We date someone, and we expect that person to be at least a decent sort of being. We begin a friendship with someone because something about that person has attracted us, drawn us in. We accept a job or work offer– or hire someone to work for us– and we have some idea how things will proceed. We hope things will work out well.

Life is like skydiving. There are no guarantees. And while we may do everything right and properly, sometimes things just don’t work out. While it isn’t healthy or advisable to run from every problem, sometimes we need to cut away major malfunctions.

It’s okay to have a plan. But take the time to develop a plan B,too. Know what you’re going to do if plan A doesn’t work out. Sometimes it’s easier to come up with an option or an emergency procedure if we think it through before the crisis occurs. Then we don’t have to panic. We can just institute the plan we rehearsed.

Have you reviewed your emergency procedures today?

God, give me the alertness to recognize when it’s time to cut away a malfunction. Give me the presence of mind to save my own life.

Touchstones Meditation For Men
May 15

If you can’t fight and you can’t flee, flow.
—Robert Eliot

Too often, we men have lived with a single answer to every situation: win. We saw our friendships in competitive terms, so we couldn’t let our guard down. We looked at life as a challenge to be conquered rather than something to be enjoyed. Therefore, our first impulse was to fight and come out a winner. Many of us have played life like a game with only winners and losers, and we have neglected the deeper meaning in our experiences. Living that way, many of us have felt like losers.

We all experience moments when a situation is much more powerful than we are. Those moments feel like defeat unless we allow them to open a whole new viewpoint on our lives. When we can flow with a situation, which will have its own way anyhow, we have become more mature men. We can breathe a sigh of relief because much of the tension in our lives is reduced when we stop trying to conquer every moment and instead simply flow with it.

Today, I will practice playing a new game of flowing and thereby deepen my awareness of life.

DailyTAO
May 15
VISIONS

Neither drug-induced
Nor self-induced visions :
Pierce all visions,
To see the void.

Tao is not to be found through drugs or any external means. While you most assuredly will have visions, how will you know what they mean? No matter how vivid, no matter how seemingly profound, they must be understood in order to be useful. By contrast, meditation also brings visions, voices, feelings, and absolute certainties. But prior philosophical inquiry is essential preparation for these experiences. The practitioner can instantly fit new experiences into a frame of reference. There is no confusion, and one can distinguish the true from the false. After all, even the perceptions of meditation may leave room for doubt.

Not everything that one receives during spiritual inquiry is true. Some are deceptions, and one must be able to see through them. The form that visions take is a function of your own degree of mental sophistication. As such, they are still in the circumference of your mind. If you want to receive impulses from the true Tao, you should know that they do not come as visions. Receiving Tao is to enter into a state of consciousness. Followers of Tao may indulge in spiritual visions for a time, but they eventually learn that there is something more important than the endless exploration of visions. The eventual object is to transcend all enslavement to perception. Only in attaining that state can one adequately judge reality.

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